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eHow gets a makeover

eHow, the online how-to guide that boasts over 2 million articles and videos, today unveiled a new look, organizing its content into six separate channels under the tag line “Trusted advice for the curious life.”

Originally founded in 1999, eHow uses a proprietary social networking platform and user-generated content tools to maintain a large online community of contributors and editors. Together, they produce a seemingly inexhaustible supply of how-to articles, images and videos.

Often criticized for the quality of its content, eHow nevertheless attracts over 90 million visitors to the site each month. Earlier this year, its current owner Demand Media went public, placing a valuation on eHow of close to $1.8 billion.

According to Greg Boudewijn, general manager of eHow, the six new channels – home, money, style, health, family and food – will each have its own identity and personality. “Creating content for a home and garden audience is different than creating [content] for a financial audience,” said Boudewijn.

Shifting from a horizontal to a vertical content structure is designed to increase eHow's overall quality and provide a richer experience for readers. Boudewijn insists that the revamp has been in the works for some time and was not a direct response to Google's recent crackdown on so-called “content farms” – web sites that publish massive amounts of low-quality content in order to move up Google’s search rankings.

Although some Demand Media sites took a dive in the rankings after Google changed its algorithm, eHow wasn’t one of them. Instead, web researcher SEOClarity estimates that eHow actually gained 20% in search visibility.

In addition to the new content segments, eHow is also introducing a more robust “content curation layer,” which encourages users to rate the quality of individual pieces of content. “Helpful?” buttons will be placed alongside all articles and videos, encouraging feedback which will be funneled back to eHow's editorial team.

But while Demand and eHow are looking to raise editorial standards, do not to expect a dramatic shift in focus. “Utilizing Demand Media's proprietary technology and insight, eHow pays attention to what consumers are seeking,” the company explains in a press release. In other words, eHow will continue to match its content to the popular topics of the day.

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